"The art of immobilizing the opponent in a way that said ship is unable to move"
Tackling is the act of pinning down a ship so that it cannot escape. Tackling is the backbone of PvP in EVE, as ships that are not tackled will likely be able to warp out and disengage before they are destroyed. Tackling is usually accomplished using modules such as Warp Scramblers and Stasis Webifiers, but there are a variety of modules that can either slow down enemy ships or disable their ability to warp. Though tackling usually refers to the combination of stasis webifiers and warp disruption, warp disruption is the necessary ingredient that distinguishes tackling from simply slowing down opponents.
A tackler, then, is a pilot whose job it is to pin down a ship so that other players can kill it, though this term can also be used to refer to a ship fit for that purpose. Tackle ships are generally not fit to deal significant amounts of damage (if any), but battleship fights without tacklers usually end when the side whose shields drop just warps out. This means that it is the tackler who facilitates kills, and for this reason tacklers are included on kill mails. Without one side being trapped, it's very rare that a given fight will end with a ship kill.
Tacklers also serve as the backbone of fleet operations, and fleet commanders will generally prioritize effective deployment of fleet tacklers under their command.
- 1 Types of tackle
- 2 Fitting for tackling
- 3 Fitting theory
- 3.1 Warp scrambler or warp disruptor?
- 3.2 Afterburner or microwarpdrive?
- 3.3 What type of tank?
- 3.4 To fit a stasis webifier or not?
- 3.5 To fit a sensor booster or not?
- 3.6 Long range or short range weapons?
- 3.7 Tech 1 or Tech 2 modules?
- 3.8 To fit electronic warfare modules or not?
- 3.9 Using drones
- 4 Skills for tackling
- 5 Tips for practical tackling
Types of tackle
- First Tackle: The job of first tackle is to be first on the scene and to hold the target so that they can't warp away. This also means they are normally the primary target for the person they are trying to tackle, because they represent a threat. This role is often filled by an interceptor, but a Tech 1 fast frigate can also be used.
- Second Tackle: In a fleet situation, this is "everyone else". Second tackle's role is to grab the ship tackled by first tackle and slow it down so the damage dealing ships can join the fun. Once two or three second tacklers have the ship, it is basically dead in the water and the heavier ships can either catch up or warp to the tacklers.
- Heavy Tackle: Heavy tackle ships are ships fit for high survivability, capable of holding down targets for extended periods of time. They are usually ships with bonuses to webs or warp disruption.
- Heavy Interdiction Cruisers often fill this role, as they can not only use interdiction bubbles, but can also scram and point from long ranges. They are also uniquely suited to tackling supercapitals due to their high warp scramble strength ("infinipoints").
- Gate Tackle: Gate tackle is a specialised form of tackle, where the emphasis is not on speed but on lock time. Their job is simply to get a lock and point as fast as possible so the target cannot warp off, and then the rest of the first tackle locks them down. Some gates, such as regional gates, are particularly large, and often require two or three gate tacklers to completely cover them. Some speed is useful in case the target tries to burn out of range, but not all important as it is for first tackle. Tank can also be lighter, as they are operating with the rest of the fleet.
Fitting for tackling
There exists wide variety of modules designed for stopping your target from escaping. These modules will either stop your target from warping away, slow down the target ship or stop them from using micro warp drives or micro jump drives.
The warp disruptor (also called "point" or "long point") does what its name says: it disrupts the warp core of an opponents ship, making them unable to warp away.
The basic range of the warp disruptor is 20km for a tech 1 module and 24km for a tech 2 module. The warpcore disabling strength for this module is 1 point. Faction variations of this module exist, with reduced CPU and capacitor costs and increased range (out to 30km at most)
The warp scrambler (also called "scram", "point", or "short point") works on same basic principles as the warp disruptor, in that it will disable the warpcore of the opponent's ship. However, in addition to stopping warping the warp scrambler stops the ship from using micro jump drives, micro jump field generators, and microwarpdrives. These propulsion modules will be disabled regardless of the ship's remaining warp core strength. This makes scramblers vital in catching certain fits.
The basic range for a warp scrambler is significantly lower than that of a warp disruptor. For a tech 1 module the range is 7.5km and for a tech 2 module the range is 9km. The warpcore disabling strength of this module is 2 points. Faction variations of this module have increased range (out to 11.25km at most), and warpcore disabling strengths of 3 points. Warp scramblers also consume significantly less capacitor than warp disruptors.
The Interdiction sphere launcher is used for launching Warp Disrupt Probes. This probe creates a warp disruption bubble, with a 20km radius, that lasts for two minutes before collapsing. All ships within this field cannot activate their warp drives to leave, however they can otherwise move freely. As the field is an area of effect warp disruption method this module works even if the ship is unable to target the target. The probe is also completely independent and will keep the bubble up even if the interdictor is destroyed, however the probes can be destroyed by Smartbombs.
This module can only be used by Interdictors. This module cannot be activated in High or Low security space.
See the below section on Warp disruption fields for bubble mechanics.
This module has no variations, however there is a Surgical variant of the probe which has only a 10km radius but lasts three minutes.
The Warp disruption field generator is a specialized warp disruption module which can only be used by heavy inderdiction cruisers. The Generator can be used in three different modes: Unscripted, Focused Disruption, and Focused Scrambling. When used unscripted, the generator creates an interdiction field similar to that of an Interdiction Sphere Launcher, but centered on the generating ship rather than an outside probe. When unscripted, the generator cycles in 30 seconds, and while it can be kept running it cannot be deactivated early. When used scripted, the generator targets its disruption on a single ship with an insurmountable 100 points of warpcore disabling strength (leading to the nickname "Infinity Point"). When scripted, the generator cycles in only 6 seconds, but drains the ship's capacitor more quickly. Additionally, when used scripted on a hostile capital ship, it will disable that capital ship's ability to activate stargates to leave the system.
While a warp disruption field generator is active, the ship activating it suffers a 50% increase to its signature radius, and cannot be targeted by allied remote repairs or capacitor transmitters.
Different effects of the module:
Different variations of this module have different ranges, however in most cases the only variants used are T2 (20km), and True Sansha (21km). This module's range is also affected by the pilot's level in Heavy Interdiction Cruisers, and the script equipped (if any).
The stasis webifier (also called a "web") is different from the warp disruptor and the warp scrambler. The stasis webifier focuses on decreasing the sub-warp speed of a ship. The sub-warp speed is the speed that you normally fly around at.
The sub-warp speed reduction depends on the version of the module. The tech 1 version causes a 50% speed reduction, the tech 2 version causes a 60% speed reduction. Both modules have a maximum range of 10km. Faction variations of this module exist, and come in varying levels of increased range and either 50%, 55%, or 60% speed reduction (up to 14km/60% or 15km/55% at most).
While tackling someone, a tackler should always use a warp disruptor or scrambler before the stasis webifier. Reducing the top speed of a ship with a web will make it easier for the target to warp away because they can then more quickly reach the 75% of top speed needed for initiating warp. So point first, then web.
The Stasis grappler is the big brother of normal stasis webifier. It has much greater velocity modifier than the normal webifier.
But unlike stasis webifier the grappler has only 1 km optimal and a 8-12 km falloff range. The strength of applied effect is reduced using same formula as turret hit chance. Meaning that at optimal+falloff range the applied slow down is only 50% of the maximum modifier. After optimal+falloff the effect of this module drops very rapidly. The grapplers also have hard limit of Optimal+3×Falloff beyond which the module can not be activated even though it would still have small 0-2% velocity reduction.
The grappler also requires hefty sum of powergrid and can only be fitted on battleships and above.
There exist two further sets of large-ship tackle modules: the Heavy Warp Disruptor and Heavy Warp Scrambler. Similar to the stasis grappler, these modules can only be fit to Battleships and above, and consume large amounts of powergrid. Functionally, they work the same as the ordinary Warp Disruptors and Warp Scramblers, but with increased range, capacitor cost, and scramble strength. The increased strengths of these modules make them useful for attempting to hold down supercapital ships, but in most other circumstances do not outweigh their high fitting and capacitor costs.
Support fighters can also provide Warp Disruption and Webification.
The Gallente Siren series support fighters provides 1 point of Warp Disruption per fighter, the Minmatar Dromi series support fighters provides -15% Webification per fighter (additive).
Warp core stabilizers
The Warp Core Stabilizer is not a tackle module; it is an anti-tackle module. Warp Core Stabilizers (or "stabs") are low-slot modules which greatly weaken a ship's targeting range and scan resolution, but increase the ship's Warp Core Strength, allowing it to resist incoming Warp Disruptors. One Stabilizer gives one Strength, allowing the ship to resist one point of warp disruption. Stabilizers can be stacked, allowing ships to resist multiple Disruptors or even multiple Scramblers. Supercarriers, Titans, Deep Space Transports, and Ventures have innate or skill-based warp core strength, and thus are resistant to warp disruption even without stabilizers fitted. However, no amount of warp core strength will protect a ship from a Warp Disruption Field Generator or a Warp Disruption Field.
Because of their innate sensor dampening, Warp Core Stabilizers should never be fitted to any combat ship, and are generally only be used in rare cases where emergency escapes (from hostile tackle) are necessary.
Warp disruption fields
A warp disruption field is an area effect that stops all ships within it from using their warp drives. This field has effectively infinite warp disruption strength; no number amount of warp core stabilizers will allow a ship to warp out of a bubble, however all other movement and propulsion modules are not restricted. Warp disruption fields can only be used in null security space and wormholes. Because of their appearance, warp disruption fields are commonly referred to as "bubbles".
There are five ways to create warp disruption fields:
- An inderdiction sphere launcher on a interdictor destroyer. This module launches standalone warp disrupt probes which instantly create warp disruption fields. (The field will visibly expand from the probe, however this expansion is purely visual and the bubble is effective at full size immediately.) Once launched, the probe will not move (although it can be moved by a jump destroyer), while the destroyer which launched it is free to fly away. Warp disrupt probes project 20km-radius bubbles and last for 2 minutes.
- A Warp disruption field generator on a heavy interdiction cruiser. The warp disruption field generator instantly generates a bubble centered on the ship. This bubble will move as the ship moves, and the generating ship can still move normally. The field's radius is based on the type of generator used and the skills of the cruiser pilot.
- A Warp Disruption Burst Projector fitted to a supercarrier. This module creates a 10km radius disruption field, centered on the target location, with a 500km maximum targeting range, 40s duration, and 8 minute cooldown.
- Mobile Warp Disruptor deployables, which come in varying sizes from small (5 km radius) to large (40 km radius). These structures can be deployed in space but it takes two minutes time until the structure creates the bubble. They also have their own structure, armor and shield HP and can be destroyed by shooting at them enough. They also decay on their own if left in space for several days, however they can be deactivated and picked up (with no delay) by the pilot who deployed them.
- The Empire Surveillance System deployables, which among their other effects will also project a 20km radius warp disruption field. Furthermore, these structures will automatically send a message in Local chat whenever a ship warps to them. These deployables specifically cannot be used in wormhole space.
All kinds of “bubbles” share common characteristic features:
- Their use is limited to null security and wormhole space.
- Any ships within its area of effect cannot initiate warp, and capital ships cannot use their jump drives.
- Ships warping nearby may be “dragged” out of warp. Imagine a line along which you travel to your destination and project that line beyond your destination. If such line intersects with a bubble anywhere no more than 500 km from your final destination you will be either stopped or dragged to the edge of such bubble. (Yes! Dragged beyond your destination! Bubbles situated in this way are commonly referred to as drag bubbles.) Looking at the diagram below you can see what trajectories make you susceptible to being dragged by a bubble – as long as your final destination is less than 100 km from the intersection of your trajectory with a bubble (otherwise you will fly right through a bubble as if it wasn't there).
- Bubbles will influence you only if they are online when you enter warp. This means that if a bubble is placed (or a Warp Disruptor probe launched, or Warp Disruption Field Generator activated) at your destination after you entered warp you can land right in the middle of it rather than landing on the edge.
- Bubbles will not influence any ships which are 'Interdiction Nullified'. This primarily consists of the Fleet Interceptors, and Strategic Cruisers fitted with the Interdiction Nullification subsystem. Nullified ships will not be dragged by bubbles, and can initiate warp while inside bubbles.
While all ships can use tackling equipment with great success certain ships have specific hull bonuses that make them into unique tackling ships.
The so called "tackle frigates" are for most the entry point to tackling ships. These ships are fast, agile and have a hull bonus that reduces capacitor usage of webs, points and scrams by 80%. These ships are often used as initial "hero tackle" that flies to the enemy to hold them still while rest of the fleet comes behind.
The direct upgrade from T2 tackle frigates are the T2 interceptors. These are all T2 variants of the above T1 frigates. For each ship there exists two interceptor variants: a combat interceptor with damage oriented bonuses and a fleet interceptor with bonus to point and scram range. The interceptors also have reduced signature bloom from MWD and 80% reduction in point, scram and web capacitor usage.
The next step up changes the style of tackling completely. Interdictors are T2 destroyers that are able to create a warp disruption bubble for two minutes. After launching the bubble the inderdictor is free to move and even killing the inderdictor will not release the victim from the bubble. But the pilot has to be careful when they launch the bubble as the module has moderate reload time and will also stop friends and even the pilot himself from warping away.
Heavy Interdictors are the big brothers of inderdictors. These T2 cruisers field very high tank with their T2 resist profile and additional resist bonus. Their module of choice is the warp disruption field generator. With this module heavy inderdictors are able to put up a warp disruption bubble at will (but may not be able to drop it at will, as the bubble's 30-second cycle cannot be cut short). Heavy Interdictors must take advantage of their high resistances, as they cannot receive allied remote repairs while their disruption generator is active. The warp disruption field generator can also be used with either disruption or scrambling scripts that turn the module into infinitely strong long range point or scram.
The Minmatar and Gallente Electronic Attack Frigates receive large bonuses to specific tackle modules. The Minmatar Hyena receives a 40% bonus to web range per skill level in Electronic Attack Ships, while the Gallente Keres receives a 15% bonus to warp disruptor and warp scrambler range, and a 10% reduction to disruptor and scrambler activation cost, per skill level.
The Minmatar and Gallente Recon Ships receive similar but stronger bonuses to their smaller Electronic Attack siblings. The Minmatar recons receive massive 60% bonus to web range per skill level in Recon Ships, while the Gallente recon cruisers receive equally frightening 20% bonus to warp disruptor and warp scrambler range per level.
The Minmatar and Gallente Strategic Cruisers electronic warfare subsystems are specialized in tackling, and while their bonuses are weaker than those of the Recon Ships, they can be used in addition to the strategic cruisers' other combat abilities. The Loki's Immobility Drivers give a 25% bonus to web range, and a 10% increase to web overheat bonus per skill level in Minmatar Core Systems, while the Proteus's Friction Extension Processor give a 7.5% bonus to warp disruptor and scrambler range, and a 15% increase to their overheat bonuses per skill level in Gallente Core Systems.
In addition to the T2 and t3 ships there also exist wide variety of pirate ships with tackling related bonuses.
The Mordu's Legion line of ships all receive 10% bonus per level in relevant Gallente ships to warp disruptor and scrambler range. While rarely used as fleet tackle, the extended range on these ships allows for fighting outside the enemy's effective while still holding them on grid.
The Serpentis line of ships receive 10% bonus per in relevant Minmatar ship to stasis webifier effectiveness. This means that at level 5 in the relevant Minmatar skills, a Serpentis ship with a Tech II webifier will slow a targeted ship by 90% with a single web.
The Blood Raider Covenant line of ships receive 20% bonus to web range per level in relevant Minmatar ship skill. However, these ships are rarely used for their web bonuses, as their energy neutralizing bonuses are more significant.
Extra Modules for Tackling
|Afterburner||As fitted to military jet fighters, afterburners (or ABs) can be fitted to ships in EVE Online. The afterburner increases your sub-warp speed by a percentage. Afterburners are often used while in orbit around a target to help evade enemy fire and keep the user's ship alive. However, in the face of microwarpdrives, they are often not fast enough to leap into battle on their own and catch enemies who are not yet in range.
The Tech 1 module boosts your speed by 115% (thus it doubles your speed plus another 15%). The Tech 2 version boosts your speed by 135%. Faction and Deadspace variations of this module offer further speed boosts (of 140-160%), but are much more expensive and thus not commonly used.
|Microwarpdrive||The microwarpdrive (or MWD) is a small warpdrive capable of giving a significant speed boost to your sub-warp speed. It's an upgraded version of the afterburner, however it comes with several drawbacks. Unlike an afterburner, a microwarpdrive is extremely effective at getting into, or out of, an enemy's range, but is not at all effective at helping evade enemy fire. An active MWD grants a 500% boost to sub-warp speed, but also increases the ship's signature radius by 500%, making it far easier to hit than its speed would imply. Also, as mentioned above, microwarpdrives are forcibly deactivated by hostile Warp Scramblers. MWDs also consume more capacitor to operate, and having an MWD fitted to a ship reduces the ships maximum capacitor capacity (and thus, indirectly, the ship's capacitor regeneration rate). As a result of all this, it is often best to use an MWD to get into tackle range of a target, and then deactivate it while in close orbit to avoid being hit.
The Tech 1 module gives a 500% bonus to speed, at the cost of 500% increased signature radius and 25% reduced capacitor capacity. The Tech 2 module gives a 510% boost to speed, but only 20% reduced capacitor capacity. However, the use of Tech 2 MWDs is often frowned upon, in favor of the Quad LiF Restrained variant, which gives a 505% bonus to speed, 20% reduced capacitor capacity, only 450% increased signature radius (mitigating a little of the evasion problem), and lower capacitor consumption than the Tech 2 variant.
Faction and Deadspace microwarpdrives are popular on more expensive ships, as while they do not offer great improvements to speed, they offer greatly reduced capacitor capacity and signature radius penalties. They are, however, very expensive and thus not worth using unless you know you won't lose them.
| Sensor Booster
(with Scan Resolution Script)
|To be effective as a tackler you first need to get a lock on the target you want to tackle. Every ship has a certain scan resolution, visible in the fitting window, which, together with your target's signature radius, determines the time it takes to lock a target. With a sensor booster you can increase that scan resolution which enables you to decrease the lock-time and so point or scram the target faster.
The tech 1 version of the sensor booster boosts your scan resolution by 25%, while the tech 2 version boosts it by 30%. Sensor Boosters also increase your maximum targeting range, but that's less relevant to tackling. If you put a scan resolution script in the sensor booster (which you should in most cases, as the range will not be necessary), the scan resolution bonus doubles and the bonus to targeting range disappears. So you can get a 50% scan resolution bonus from the tech 1 booster and a 60% from the tech 2 version.
| Remote Sensor Booster
(with Scan Resolution Script)
|In extreme cases where a fleet decides that tackle must be secured as fast as possible, one or more non-tackle ships in the fleet may be fitted with Remote Sensor Boosters, and have them active on the tackler ship. These modules provide slightly greater bonuses than regular sensor boosters, but can only be used on allies (and not on yourself) and thus must be prepared and coordinated in advance.
These modules are commonly seen in Gate Camps, to ensure that the campers catch their targets.
|Overdrive Injector System||As a tackler, speed is important in order to reach your target quickly. The faster you can get into targeting and warp disruption range, the faster you can tackle the target. The nice thing about overdrive injector systems is that they don't require powergrid or CPU. The downside of the overdrive injector system is that your cargohold m³ will decrease. As a tackler you do not use your cargohold, so you can ignore that penalty.
The sub-warp speed increase of the tech 1 overdrive injector system is 10.4% (with a cargohold penalty of 15%), and the tech 2 module gives a 12.5% increase speed (and a 20% cargohold penalty).
|Nanofiber Internal Structure||This is another module that increases your speed. Unlike the overdrive injector, however, it also makes your ship more agile. Using this module will help you accelerate and align faster, allowing you to reach targets faster, and allow you to keep a closer orbit at a higher speed, making you harder to track and thus harder to kill. Like overdrives, nanos don't require any powergrid or CPU. The downside of this module is that you get a lower amount of structure hit points (HP). In a way this downside doesn't matter though, because, generally speaking, tackling frigates tend to either be able to rely on their shields, armor, and speed for long enough to either be saved by the logi or pull range and escape, or if their armor doesn't hold up and they do enter structure they're pretty much dead anyway.
The sub-warp speed increase from the tech 1 module is 7.84%, with a 13.1% inertia reduction, at the cost of 15% structure HP. The tech 2 module increases sub-warp speed by 9.4%, cuts inertia by 15.8%, and reduces structure HP by 20%.
|Navigation Rigs||Sometimes, there aren't enough low power slots to go around. Auxiliary Thrusters rigs give a 7.25% bonus to sub-warp speed, akin to a weaker Overdrive Injector. Polycarbon Engine Housing rigs give a 5.5% bonus to sub-warp speed, and 9.1% reduction to inertia, akin to a weaker Nanofiber. Both rigs come at the cost of 10% Armor HP. These rigs can be useful if there are not enough low slots to fit an Overdrive or Nanofiber, but more speed is required. However, these rigs are not ideal on ships which rely on armor for their defense.||(Rigs do not require skills to use)|
|Damage Control||The damage control increases your shield, armour, and hull resistances to all damage, making you much harder to kill. One of the most all-purpose efficient defensive modules in the game, a very much recommended module for any tackler, however it does cost some CPU which can at times be in short supply on frigates. It will also make you much more resistant to smartbombs and drones, two major threats to tacklers.
The tech 1 module increases shield, armour and hull resistances by 7.5%, 10% and 50% respectively; the tech 2 module increases them by 12.5%, 15% and 60% respectively.
|Medium Shield Extender||A medium shield extender is a great way to significantly increase the hitpoints of your tackler without slowing you down. While high speed will reduce the damage that you take, it will only reduce it - fitting modules to increase your HP will keep you alive and able to tackle for much longer.
While a small shield extender will be easier to fit, a medium extender provides far more HP and is generally preferred. You may need to use a Micro Auxiliary Power Core in order to provide the powergrid to fit one. A Tech 1 medium shield extender gives you an additional 750 base shield hitpoints (most frigates have between 350 and 500 shield hitpoints to begin with, so that's a huge difference). A Tech 2 medium shield extender increases your base shield hitpoints by a huge 1050 HP!
(to fit a Micro Auxiliary Power Core)
|Command Bursts||These are not modules that a tackle ship itself will fit but they're good to be aware of. Command Bursts are a set of modules fitted by Combat Battlecruisers, Command Destroyers, Command Ships, and specially fit Strategic Cruisers, which when active improve the combat capabilities of all nearby ships in their fleet. Shield and Armor Command Bursts can help a tackler by making them more durable, but the most useful bursts are Skirmish Command Bursts; as they can improve a tackle ship's flight speed, increase acceleration and decrease signature radius, and increase the range of warp disruptors, scramblers, and stasis webifiers.||
(No skills are needed to benefit from friendly Command Bursts.)
Warp scrambler or warp disruptor?
The primary role of any tackler is to make sure a target ship doesn't run away. The most important part of this is to prevent the enemy from warping off, which can be accomplished by using a warp disruptor or a warp scrambler. Each of these modules has its advantages and disadvantages, and an effective fleet will have some of both.
The warp disruptor has more than twice the range of a warp scrambler (20km with the Tech 1 module, or 24km with the Tech 2 module) which allows the tackler to keep more distance from their target. This can increase their survivability against targets with stasis webifiers and energy neutralizers, although orbiting at warp disruptor range (rather than orbiting as close as possible) will make them easier to hit with turrets. It means the tackler can also tackle the target faster because they don't need to get within 9 km or even less first. Warp disruptors take a lot of capacitor to run and can quickly drain a frigate's small capacitor if you keep them turned on. For this reason, warp disruptors are generally used to get the initial tackle and smart tacklers will turn them off once someone else has put a warp scrambler on the target. Warp disruptors are especially popular on specialised Tech 2 interceptors, which receive bonuses to their range and a reduction to the amount of capacitor they use.
The warp scrambler has a much shorter range than the warp disruptor (between 7.5 and 9km), however it doesn't just prevent the enemy from warping off - it also shuts down their microwarpdrive. Since almost all ships larger than frigates will be running a microwarpdrive, a warp scrambler will slow them down significantly. This allows the rest of the the tackler's fleet to get in range of the target more easily, and prevents the target from running away or getting back in range of a stargate. For this reason, having at least some warp scramblers is is essential to any fleet. Warp scramblers use significantly less capacitor than warp disruptors, and so it should be possible to keep them running indefinitely. Using a warp scram will put the tackler within range of stasis webifiers and energy neutralizers which can be a threat to a frigate, however guns will struggle to track a frigate at this range meaning in most cases the tackler will actually be safer in warp scrambler range than outside of it. In most situations, the safest place for a frigate to be is orbiting as close as possible - between 500m and 2500m.
Using a warp scrambler puts the tackler quite close to smartbomb range (which is 5km, or 6km if the target is using Tech 2 smartbombs). They need to be careful when engaging a target that is likely to be equipped with smartbombs (i.e. battleships in low security space). If the tackler suspects that the target might be using smartbombs it's a good idea for them to set their orbit between 6 and 7.5km, which should put them safely outside of their range.
If a tackler has both a disruptor and a scrambler fitted, a tactic known as 'drive-by scramming' can be used. In this, the tackler spends most of their time using their disruptor, outside of scram range, but at important moments dives in for a few seconds to land a scram on their target (to disable a microwarpdrive or micro jump drive), and then flies out back into their safer disruptor range.
Afterburner or microwarpdrive?
At first glance you might think that both of these modules perform the same function - both increase your speed, and since the microwarpdrive increases your speed more it must be the better choice. Like many things in EVE Online, it isn't quite that simple.
A microwarpdrive has a couple of serious drawbacks. The most important one is that while the module is activated it will increase the ship's signature radius by up to 500%; this will make it much easier to hit and will cause the ship to take a lot more damage from cruiser sized and bigger weapons. This will massively increase the tackler's chances of dying. Also, the microwarpdrive uses a lot of capacitor and the tackler will most likely not be able to run it for an extended period of time. For these reasons, an microwarpdrive is used only to get into range of the target and should be turned off once the tackler are in range to tackle the target. Once that has happened the tackler will only be able to orbit their target at the regular speed of their ship. Also keep in mind that a player will not be able to use the module at all when someone is using a warp scrambler (not a warp disruptor) against them, since these disable microwarpdrives.
An afterburner on the other hand does not increase the ship's signature radius at all and it needs far less capacitor, meaning a tackler can keep it activated even while they are orbiting their target. Since they are able to travel more quickly without increasing your signature radius, an afterburner will decrease the chances for the opponent's turrets to hit the tackler as well as reducing the amount of damage they receive from missiles. While an afterburner is not as useful for chasing targets or getting into range, it does help the tackler survive once they get there.
To summarise, an microwarpdrive will let the tackler get into range quickly, but they will be more at risk once they get there. With an afterburner the tackler will take longer to get into range, but will take less damage once they do.
In most cases, it is recommended that tackler frigates fit a microwarpdrive in order to close range more quickly and to help them catch up with fast moving targets. However, flying with an microwarpdrive is less forgiving than using an afterburner since things will happen more quickly - the tackler will need to be more aware of the range to their target and whether their microwarpdrive is currently turned on or off. If a tackler is trying PVP for the first time, an afterburner might be an easier choice.
It is possible to fit both an afterburner and a microwarpdrive to a ship (known as 'dual propulsion' or 'dual prop') if the player has enough midslots as well as the CPU and PG to do so - this is popular on some Tech 2 and faction ships, but is difficult to do on most Tech 1 frigates and is not recommended for new players.
Tech 2 interceptors (and to a lesser extent Tech 2 assault frigates) receive bonuses to microwarpdrives which reduce the signature radius penalty which they provide. As a result, they take much less damage when running microwarpdrives during combat. Long-ranged 'fleet' interceptors in particular will often keep their microwarpdrives on for the whole duration of a fight.
What type of tank?
After the tackle and propulsion module, the most important thing to fit on a tackler is tank - it's no use catching a target if they can simply kill the tackler and escape.
You'll sometimes see people fitting their tackling frigates with all speed modules and no tank. The most common place that you'll see these is on killboards, killed in droves by whatever they were trying to tackle. While speed is important, a tackle frigate should already be fast enough to catch most ships in the game (especially if you're using a microwarpdrive) and enhancing that further is not the main priority.
No matter what else they do, a tackler should almost always fit a damage control in one of their low slots. This module can massively increase your effective hitpoints and has almost no drawback (it uses quite a lot of CPU, but that's it) - there is very little excuse not to use one.
After that, the tackler has two options - they can either fit a shield tank or an armour tank. A shield tank is usually the best choice for a tackler, providing they have enough mid slots to fit one (they will need at least three - one for the microwarpdrive or afterburner, one for the scrambler or disruptor, and one for the tank). This is because a shield tank does not slow the tackler down, which lets them get in range of the target more quickly. An ideal shield tank for a tackler frigate is a single Medium Shield Extender (this gives much more HP than a small shield extender, and it is possible to fit one on most frigates - new players will probably also need to fit a Micro Auxiliary Power Core to provide the necessary powergrid). They may also want to fit shield resistance rigs, such as a Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer - these are very cheap compared to other rigs, and will further increase the toughness of their ship. Fitting a shield tank will increase the tackler's signature radius slightly (making them a little easier to hit), however this is vastly outweighed by the increase to HP that it provides.
If the tackler can't fit a shield tank, an armour tank is also a possibility. Fitting an armour plate will slow the ship down, but the extra HP it provides can make a big difference particularly if they also fit armour resistance modules (such as an Adaptive Nano Plating). A 200mm Reinforced Steel Plate is usually the best choice - smaller plates do not provide enough HP to be worth it, while larger plates will slow the ship down too much. Armour rigs are generally not recommended on a tackler since they will slow the ship down too much - speed or agility rigs are usually a better choice. An armour tank is best used on close range tacklers with warp scramblers and/or stasis webifiers, since these are less reliant on speed for survival.
Most of the time, the tackler will want a buffer tank (HP and resistance modules) rather than an active tank (armour repairers and shield boosters). This is because a small armour repairer or small shield booster generally does not repair quickly enough to counteract the amount of damage they are likely to take if they are getting shot at by another player - the tackler will generally survive for longer with a buffer tank instead. That said, some armour tanking tacklers may choose to fit a small armour repairer instead of a plate since doing so does not slow the ship down, and can still be helpful if they are only taking a small amount of damage.
In addition to the actual hitpoints, the high speed of the tackler frigate should help reduce the amount of damage that they take. It generally does not reduce it enough to prevent damage entirely - even on a specialised Tech 2 interceptor - however combined with a few tanking modules it should keep them alive for longer. If the tackler has any low slots or rig slots left over after fitting the tank, it's a good idea to fill them with modules which enhance the tackler's speed (such as Overdrive Injectors or Small Auxiliary Thruster rigs).
For simple PvP guidance, noting that a Warp Scrambler (scram) shuts down MWDs, remember that you should first decide the range you plan to fight at. If you will be fighting within close/brawling range, a Warp Scrambler will give you good bang for buck but you should expect to be scrammed back and would lose your MWD perhaps consider choosing an AB first. If you are fighting at longer ranges, you may choose to use a Warp Disruptor (point) and get away with an MWD but taking care not to get to close enough to your prey to be scrammed and your MWD disabled.
There are the extra considerations mentioned above, such as increased signature radius and speed from an MWD, but as a starting point the choice to combine scram with MWD likely means losing use of the MWD as you get into scram range. Similarly, point with AB means the prey can speed around with their MWD still on and control the battlespace, potentially zipping off out of point range and warping away, even though you managed to point them. So, perhaps consider starting with close range+scram+AB(+web) or longer range+point+MWD.
To fit a stasis webifier or not?
Stasis webifiers are great modules as they significantly decrease the speed of a target ship. Stasis webifiers are fairly short ranged, with a range only slightly longer than a warp scrambler. This makes fitting a stasis webifier a good decision if the tackler is already fitting a warp scrambler, since they will be operating well inside webifier range anyway. Furthermore, if the tackler is engaging an enemy fitted with an afterburner, the warp scrambler will not be enough to hold the enemy in place, and the webifier will be required for the tackler to be able to stay in range.
If the tackler is fitting a warp disruptor, the decision is slightly less clear cut. They first need to decide whether they plan to fly inside stasis webifier range; despite the fact that they have a long ranged warp disruptor, the tackler will generally be harder to hit if they orbit as close as possible, and they may want to fly inside web range anyway. If they do, fitting a stasis web makes a lot of sense. On the other hand the tackler may want to stay outside of stasis webifier range, either because they are flying a Tech 2 interceptor which will be running its microwarpdrive all the time, or because they want to avoid their target's webs and energy neutralizers. If this is the case, there's not much point fitting a stasis webifier since the tackler is unlikely to be in range to use it and they would be better off using that mid slot for a different module (for example a sensor booster to help them lock faster, or a tracking disruptor to protect their fleet-mates, and themselves, from the opponent's turrets).
To fit a sensor booster or not?
Sensor boosters increase the scan resolution of the tackler's ship and thus allow them to lock a target faster and/or the increase the locking range of their ship (depending on which script is used). A sensor booster makes sense if the tackler is fitting a warp disruptor, however it should not take precedence over tanking modules such as shield extenders.
Sensor boosters can increase either the tackler's targeting range or their locking speed (or both) depending on which script you load them with. While most frigates can already lock further than maximum warp disruptor range (20-24km), the additional targeting range from a sensor booster can come in useful by allowing the tackler to start locking a target while they are still approaching them, and before they get into warp disruptor range. This means they can turn on your warp disruptor as soon as they get into range, instead of having to wait while they lock them first. The additional scan resolution will let the tackler lock targets faster, although a frigate will already lock pretty quickly. This is mainly useful when trying to catch targets coming through a stargate.
Long range or short range weapons?
In most cases a tackler should fit short range weapons for a couple of reasons. Obviously if their ship is designed to be used at short range (warp scrambler/stasis webifier) fitting long range weapons makes very little sense. If their ship is designed to be used at long range they still should consider using short range weapons to fight off drones that are attacking them as well as enemy ships that manage to get too close.
The problem with fitting short range weapons to a long range tackler is the temptation to get within weapon range on the primary target so the tackler can apply some damage to it. Quite often they might get away with this, but eventually they will end up getting themselves killed for doing that because they got within range of smartbombs, stasis webifieres and other modules that ruin their day. So make sure to use the modules and weapons as they are intended to be used.
Long range weapons really only make sense if for whatever reason the tackler needs to be able to hit their target from a distance. For example, if they are fitted for long range tackling while they are in a small gang and the fleet needs as much DPS as possible or if they are in a frigate only fleet. In a regular fleet the damage from a Tech 1 tackling frigate is usually very small and should not be the priority; the tackler's main concern should be to tackle the target and stay alive. Of course with a large number of tacklers all those small amounts do add up, so there's no reason to not use the high slots if the tackler has some CPU and PG to spare.
For a lot of frigates it makes sense to use projectile turrets (autocannons or maybe artilleries) even though the ship might not give any bonus for them. Projectile weapons do not use any capacitor and ACs also require very little CPU and PG. Hybrids and lasers only make sense if your ship grants a reasonable bonus to damage, range or maybe tracking.
There is another philosophy in tackle fitting, in which some tackle ships do not fit weapons at all in order to both save on fitting space (giving more room for defenses) and save on the thought processes of thinking about the weapons' activation, ammunition, and effective range.
Tech 1 or Tech 2 modules?
see also Tech and Meta Levels
Using Tech 2 modules will improve the tackler's performance, however they require somewhat better skills and are a lot more expensive and for some modules it might not be worth it on a Tech 1 frigate.
Keep in mind that there are so called 'meta' versions of all modules as well, which offer more performance than vanilla Tech 1 and one or more other specific bonuses. Meta modules are often very cheap, and in most cases should be used in stead of tech 1 modules whenever possible.
A Tech 2 warp disruptor offers 4 km more range than any Tech 1 version and requires only one additional level of propulsion jamming, so it's very useful and in fact recommended for long range tacklers if they can afford it. Tech 2 damage controls are also significantly better than their Tech 1 counterparts, and Meta damage controls tend to be very expensive (and should thus only be used when the fitting space cannot be found anywhere else).
To fit electronic warfare modules or not?
Using a spare midslot for a random electronic warfare (EWAR) module will multiply the value of the ship for the fleet. Especially in a big fleet, there are usually a lot of tacklers and one more or less warp scrambler or webifier doesn't make much of a difference. A tracking disruptor or sensor dampener on the other hand can significantly disrupt the opponent's ability to fight back, even though the tackler frigate does not receive a bonus to those modules. An electronic warfare module can also increase the survivability of a tackler when trying to keep a target tackled for a while until fleet members caught up/warped in, as well as helping out any other tacklers in the fleet. Tracking disruptors are great for this though they are effective only against turret based ships.
Most Tech 1 frigates that are used for tackling do not provide any bonus to a specific type of electronic warfare. However, electronic warfare modules such as tracking disruptors and remote sensor dampeners are still incredibly effective on any ship, even one with no bonuses to them. ECM jammer modules are the only exception to this rule, and are not recommended on a ship which does not have ECM bonuses (such as the griffin or blackbird).
Some Tech 1 frigates can use at least one small drone and they should utilize that, even if it won't make much difference individually. Not using the drone bay pretty much equals not using a slot on the ship. A simple combat drone like a hobgoblin or a warrior is fine, and if the tackler has trained up their drone skills they could maybe use an electronic warfare drone. Anything is fine really, as long as they use it.
Skills for tackling
None of these skills are actually essential - a player can still be a great tackler without them - but they will make the tackler's life easier and mean a better tackler. Players should train them to IV, if they intend on tackling a lot. Most of these skills will also affect all other ships a pilot flies, and so will be useful even it a pilot largely stops flying tackle.
- Spaceship Command - increases agility by 2% per level, allowing for faster acceleration and alignment, and tighter orbits
- Evasive Maneuvering - increases agility by 5% per level, allowing even tighter orbits
- Navigation - increases speed by 5% per level
- Acceleration Control - increases the speed boost from a microwarpdrive or afterburner by 5% per level
- High Speed Maneuvering - 5% reduction in capacitor required by a microwarpdrive per level
- Propulsion Jamming - 5% reduction in capacitor required by tackle modules per level. Also required for using most T2 tackle modules.
- Warp Drive Operation - reduces the capacitor required to enter warp by 10% per level, meaning the player can warp further in one go
- Signature Analysis - improves targeting speed by 5% per level
- Thermodynamics - allows a player to overheat their point for extra range, and their propulsion module the additional speed
Tips for practical tackling
- During the fight, a tackler should locate their target and approach them, with their propulsion module running. Once the tackler is in locking range, they should lock the target. When they are in range for their warp disruptor/scrambler they should activate the module. Once the module is activated, they should normally announce to the fleet on mumble that they have a point on the target, so the damage dealing ships can join in. Once the tackler is orbiting the target, they should turn off their microwarpdrive if they have one. When the target is pointed the tackler can also activate their stasis webifier if they have one.
- In some situations tacklers may want to keep their disruptors "hot" i.e. activated before they have a target. This will enable them to get tackle a bit faster once they have a target. If a tackler does this they should ensure that they have auto targeting turned off in the Options menu, to avoid tackling friendly or neutral targets.
- Sometimes the fleet commander will call specific targets for tacklers. In the absence of any specific targets, however, tacklers should normally pick a target whose character's name starts with the same letter as theirs, or as close as possible in the alphabet. This will help ensure that the fleet's points are spread amongst the opponents fairly evenly. Pay attention to mumble and try to pick a different target if somebody else has already pointed the opponent you were headed for, or if your designated target is too far away or too fast for you to catch.
- A ship can initiate warp to any friendly ship that is at least 150km away. If a tackle frigate is 150km away from the main fleet, the fleet can initiate warp using the tackle frigate as a reference point. Note, however, that they do not have to warp to the tackle frigate. The shortest distance that a ship can warp is a mere 50km, by warping to 100km from a beacon 150km away. This leads to another trick for tackle frigates. If they are not actively engaging a pointed target, they should consider burning directly away from it until they are at least 150km from the main fleet. This allows those ships to "warp at range" to the tackle frigate, and hopefully land directly on top of the target. This requires some co-ordination; it's no point everyone burning away and no-one staying to apply point / web / scram.
- Once a player commits a hostile act, they cannot use jump gates (or dock) for sixty seconds. A canny target with sufficient tank can stop aggressing, wait out their timer, and then jump through the gate and get away. To prevent this happening, most fleet commandeers will reserve a small number of tacklers that do not aggress, so that they also can go through the gate and engage any target attempting to flee. Often these tacklers are sent through first, so they can take up position ready to catch a fleeing ship. In this situation, tank can be important. In the worst case, a tackler might need to hold a hostile ship for the full sixty seconds while their fleet's timers expire, plus another ten or so while they jump and load the grid.